Hoyer says Cubs looking for pen help, Wells not happy again

It was a busy, busy Thursday for the Cubs, and for John as well.

It sounds like Jed Hoyer and the Cubs want to stay busy this last week of spring training. John and I have both been hearing that the Cubs were still shopping for bullpen help.

 Hoyer confirms that is the focus.

 ‘‘We’re going to spend the next week solidifying the bullpen,’’ said general manger Jed Hoyer, who would like to add a left-hander to a pen that otherwise has one. ‘‘We’re OK if we go north with the guys we have. We’re not ready to make those final decisions yet.’’

Gordon Wittenmyer reports that the Cubs recently tried to reacquire Tom Gorzelanny from Washington. Funny thing, I just watched him pitch yesterday and thought how silly it was to dump him last season due to his marginal salary.

As expected, Randy Wells is not happy about his upcoming trip to Iowa.

 "Usually when this stuff happens, you've had a rough spring or you really haven't been pitching well," Wells said. "I've thrown the ball well in a variety of different roles. I'm not going to sit here and lie and be the guy who says I'm not disappointed. I am.

"It's a point in your career where you have to buckle down and you know what you want to do. Maybe it's a wake-up call to (show) it's not that easy to stay here."

Wells has been vocal in the past about his prior setbacks. He has even called himself out in the media for at times his self-proclaimed lack of focus. Now Wells says this could be a wake-up call?

Didn’t he already make similar statements a couple of years in a row now?

No one can blame Wells this time though. He pitched solidly this spring, and is for sure one of the Cubs 12 best pitchers.

Ironically, Wells getting injured last year has a lot to do with his being in Iowa now.

Hoyer didn’t want to get caught with his pants down like Jim Hendry did last April when Wells and Andrew Cashner didn’t make it past their first starts. Hoyer wanted to build up starting pitching depth, and it seems that mission has been accomplished. It has to make him feel pretty good about having Wells and Travis Wood at his disposal for now.

In another twist, one of the band aids Hendry did acquire after Wells injury was Rodrigo Lopez, and he has now effectively taken Wells spot on the roster.

Lastly, Dale Sveum’s comments on Welington Castillo did not escape my radar.

 “He’s an everyday catcher,” Sveum said. “He’s going to make a lot of money and probably play in All-Star games. He just needs to go down and play every single day.”

Those comments sound like they are coming from an organization that thinks Geovany Soto could soon be expendable.





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  • Tom, this front office and manager are pretty bright...There's gonna be lots of movement around here pretty soon..I'm thouroughly impressed by this group

  • Wells has some reasons to be upset, but he also has several reasons to be happy. He still collects his major league salary, and he's first in line when one of the starters is injured or ineffective. There's also a chance he'll be traded to a contending team, and have a chance for a pennant and a World Series ring.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I think he was obviously disappointed but took it as well as you could expect. If he's not pitching in the bigs whether it's here or someone else in the next 2-3 months, I'll be shocked.

  • Another great article. Thank you. I went to bed last night not really surprised that Wells got sent down, but also thinking that the Cubs could use more than 1 lefty in the bullpen. I expect more changes before Opening Day.

  • Thanks Ray, I really feel if they improve the pen .500 is really doable.

  • Randy Wells should not be too worried or upset, I'm sure Jed has something up his sleeve. My prediction is that Randy Wells will be on the roster by mid-late May. As for Castillo , this is pretty clear to me that the Cubs brass is grooming him to be their starter and that Soto , especially if he gets off to a good start, will be trade bait.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I hope so, in my perfect world we could deal Dempster (won't happen) and Soto. Never minded him, but prefer Castillo esp at his price tag.

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    Also, possibly another thing that may have factored into Wells being sent down to Iowa were his late nights. I've heard and read stories that Wells would stay up late before a start. I just found out about this as this was news to me. I'm positive Theo and gang has reports about Wells late nights.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    That's what Wells is always alluding to in his apologies and promises of rededication. I like Wells a lot, but we have heard about this wake up stuff before.

  • I was a bit dumb-founded about the Gorzy move as well. Would've been nice to have him on board right now and not worry about needed LH pitching help in the b'pen. Going to be a fun and interesting year as they begin to move more pieces around. It's like watching a chess game right now.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I always liked Gorzy and that is the kind of guy you hang onto.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Gorzy was a cost-controlled lefty starter. May not have been great, but would have been useful to the team. I guess it was the old Cubs way and they didn't take that kind of stuff into consideration. They did get a couple of mid-level prospects but it doesn't look like any of them will pan out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Gorzelanny might be available if the new regime is interested.

  • from what i've heard from people in the organization is that wells is the real life version of kenny powers and that his going down was a statement that the "new cubs" dont tolerate guys that go out and party every night and act like their gods gift to baseball

  • What a bunch of poppycock. If it can be proven that there is direct link between a players off field activites and game day performance, I am all ears, Until then, Theo and company should butt out and judge a players worth based on performance, being on time and doing his reps.
    the day my employer starts judging my perf by what I do when I am on my own time is the day that we have a coming to jesus meeting.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I hear what you are saying JK. However, the day games allow for more action afterwards sometimes. There have been some issues with some players staying out late, and they are seen in public. Theo and co. can't tell these guys to go home but they can alter their roster to people they have faith in.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The day your employer starts paying you $2.7M to do your job, you'd better believe they'll start looking at what you do "off the field".

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I don't think I've ever seen anyone pull off "poppycock" before. I salute you.

  • Study after study has shown that lack of the proper amount of sleep affects an individual short-term and long-term.

  • I agree. I remember when Kyle Farnsworth's antics hurt his career. If I get paid 2.7 million from my employer, they have a right to be concerned about my nights. Professional athletes off the field behavior reflects poorly on the organization. Us regular folks don't have the media following our every move awaiting to post a drunken picture of us. Athletes do, and therefore need to be responsible for their off the field actions.

  • Thanks for the arm chair analysis - anything that is done is this regard by the front office is pure optics. What a person does away from his job is no matter for his employer, provided he is not breaking the law.

    Next thing you know we will pass a law that say people must purchase health care coverage or they will be fined.....

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I'm not about policing what players do off the field, but I do think there are some players who need to be in good shape to play well. Geovany Soto comes to mind. It seems whenever he comes to camp healthy and lean, he does well but he's not talented enough to get by when he gets a little overweight in the offseason.

    In the case of Randy Wells, he's not an irreplaceable commodity so if the Cubs have a choice of 3-4 pitchers who are (at least) his equal, but are more dedicated to the game while he's more interested in outside activities, then it's going to hurt him. Now if Wells was head and shoulders above the other guys, then I wouldn't care. Neither would the Cubs, I presume. But he's not so good where that kind of thing doesn't play a factor in the decision.

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    In reply to JK1969:

    "What a person does away from his job is no matter for his employer, provided he is not breaking the law."

    Except when off-field behavior is negatively impacting on-field performance. We've heard about this for decades with Cubs who spend all night out partying and then aren't ready for games.

    I've never heard anything negative about Wells, so I'm not talking about him. But in any job, if an employee is not ready/able to put in a proper day's work, regardless of the reason, they would eventually be fired. Baseball is no different.

  • IMHO, Byrd would be the best chip for a top bullpen arm. Maybe we can trade him for Andrew Cashner :-)
    Soto is two chips on the table, not one.
    Garza is three chips on the table.

  • Hmmmm Looking for a lefty out of the pen...under contract thru 2015 ?
    A proven STUD .not an outrageous contract......wonder if THOYER offered TWood Sapplet and a minor league inf prospect if the Reds would give up Sean Marshall.?

  • In reply to DOUGIEZ:

    Anytime you can turn bp arms into starting assets you do that. I'd rather piece together a pen like STL has done in the past.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    St. Louis' bullpens are an excellent example. At the start of every season you can say "Who are some of those pitchers?", then by mid-season they're producing or replaced by someone that does.

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    Dave Duncan is one of the greatest coaches in baseball history. Look at his track record of STL, Oakland, the White Sox, and his one year as pitching coach of the Mariners. He has a long history of turning guys into fantastic pitchers.

    But Duncan is going to miss at least part of the season to care for his sick wife. STL almost certainly won't be the same without him. He's an amazing coach.

  • Great example. Seems nobody gets better value out of their bullpen guys.

  • As much as the Cubs need bullpen help, I'd rather be looking for those arms than looking for starting pitchers and position players. The Cubs did give up a few bullpen arms but what they got in return: Anthony Rizzo, T.Wood (who's still a future starter, imo, maybe even this year), and Ronald Torreyes...all potential starters. Not to mention a certain President of Baseball Operations we got for a couple of bullpen arms.

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    Svuem said today's lineup is a likely preview of his opening day lineup, here's todays:

    DeJesus RF

    Barney 2B

    Castro SS

    LaHair 1B

    Soriano LF

    Stewart 3B

    Byrd CF

    Soto C

    Dempster P

    Personally I would hit Barney 8th, Byrd 2nd, and Soto 7th. I hate giving the 2nd most ab's to the worst hitter in the lineup.

  • I feel bad for the guy. He definitely performed well enough to make the team. But with a few exceptions, players do what's best for players (otherwise Pujols would still be a Cardinal), and teams do what's best for teams. If being a starter at AAA rather than a reliever in the bigs makes him better ready to step in as a starter when the Cubs need him, it's the right move for the team.

  • I go back to my inital point ...until a direct link is established between off field activities and on field performance, I would expect my employer, regardless of my occupation, to stay away from linking my ability to further team goals and expectations with what I do when my work uniform is safely stored away. If the team inserts a specific clause in a contract that requires said performance duties to include other aspects of my life experience, it is, in my opinion, a very slippery and dangerous slope we are stepping toward. I would be alarmed and upset if I find that the Cubs expect a marginal player like Randy Wells to address his off field shortcomings without demonstrating beyond a doubt, that he is at odds with team on field performance. Don't mean to drone on about this, so I am good with agreeing to disagree on this matter.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    I fully understand what you mean and I don't disagree. I just don't know how you could prove a direct link. Breathalizer the night before a start and then chart velocity, location when he's on the mound?

    When I went to see Shiraz Rehman speak, he did mention personality as a factor when they evaluate players. He didn't talk about Wells or those specific type of issues, but the point is there really is no way to measure everything. I've talked to scouts who have specifically mentioned how certain personality issues can be a turnoff, and I know the Cubs decided against pursuing a particular free agent because of it.

    At some point you have to make a judgment call on whether you think a player has what it takes to make it regardless of on the field ability. The Cubs are betting on Samardzija and Volstad based on a variety of factors, and my guess is that most of them are objective -- but based on career, spring numbers, you can pretty much bet that not every reason is an objective one.

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